I remember September 10, 2001; it was the a nice, late summer Monday in the Twin Cities. I was working for Target at the time and I remember riding the bus into downtown, thinking about the projects I had to complete that week. My son had begun kindergarten the previous week and my daughter was busily scooting around our house, investigating everything in sight. It was shaping up to be an uneventful week and I remember spending the majority of my bus time reading about the football results from the day before - the Packers had routed the Lions 28-6 at Lambeau Field, a typical result for what was a typical day.
Life was a lot simpler on 9/10. I've been thinking about 9/10 today because of the Supreme Court decision yesterday in the Hamdan v. Rumsfeld case. In their ruling, the Supremos decided that President Bush needs to say "Mother, May I" to either Congress, or the Court itself, and probably both, before he can establish a system of military tribunals to deal with suspected terrorists who are captured by U.S. forces. John Paul Stevens and his pals are eager to rein in President Bush. I'm not sure that it's the president who needs reining in.
The good news is that once President Bush does his courtesy bow to the other branches, he'll likely be able to proceed as planned. I don't believe that even some of the loonier members of Congress are likely to want to leverage Hamdan to further hamstring the executive. It will be a difficult sell for anyone to show mercy to the plaintiff in this case, who was once Osama bin Laden's driver.
No matter how low Bush's "approval numbers" get, this president (and his successors) will need to have the power and leverage to deal with the threat of terrorism going forward. Even if it's President Feingold. The executive in our system has the responsibility to wage war. Congress has to declare it first, but Congress and the Court really need to think hard about how much involvement they should have -- no military will long survive with 545 commanders in chief...